No New York fashion week is complete without at least one event that features some combination of the following: a much-hyped young talent; a mob scene at the door, complete with screaming security guards; a chaotic presentation; and, oh yes, some legitimate talent. This season, that event came courtesy of As Four, the avant-garde design collective that made its name with the ubiquitous, influential circle handbag a few seasons ago.

Scheduled for 9 p.m. at the Cooper Union theater, the show didn't actually get underway until close to 10:30. That left ample time for the crowd to sneak cigarettes and drink the copious amounts of wine that had been supplied by the group's sponsor, Italian company Ecco Domani.

And the collection itself? Well, there were some pretty clothes hidden underneath the perversely cut lamé outfits and string-sculpture tops, and the soft flower hats worn by some of the models were gorgeous. But however talented they are as designers, the group proved equally adept at using pretentious staging, difficult lighting and an off-putting soundtrack to obscure the fruits of their labors. If only the fashion could have flowed as freely as the wine.